ECOO


How Does ECOO Get Its Board of Directors? 1

Note: This post is a companion to a response to the post “Support Your ECOO,” posted on edVisioned.ca on April 4th, 2017.

A New Year, A New Board

The Educational Computing Organization of Ontario (ECOO.org) strikes a new Board of Directors every year, coincident with the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
The ECOO Board is comprised of ten sitting members:

  • President (annual)
  • Vice President (annual)
  • Secretary (annual)
  • Treasurer (annual)
  • 4 Directors-At-Large (two-year terms, two selected per year)
  • Conference Chair (annual, appointed)
  • Past President (annual, appointed)

Check out the ECOO Board of Directors, 2016-17.

The Nominations Process

The ECOO Bylaw very clearly lays out the process that is to be followed in establishing a new Board of Directors, and there are clear timelines which are to be followed in advance of the AGM.

  • The incoming Board is to establish the Nominations Committee at its first sitting following the AGM. (Article 4, Section 5.7)
  • The Call for Nominations must occur no later than three months before the AGM. (Article 8, Section 7.4a)
  • The Call for Nominations must close no later than 40 days before the AGM. (Article 8, Section 7.4b)
  • The Nominations Committee is to cause the names of the nominees along with their resumes to be published and distributed to all members (Article 8, Section 7.4c)  
  • If there is more than one nominee for an elective position, the Nominations Committee undertakes an election process using online voting, culminating with a final opportunity for members to cast in-person ballots at the AGM. (Article 8, Section 7.4c and 7.4d, paraphrased)
  • The Nominations Committee makes the results available to the membership at the AGM.

Read the full details as set out in the ECOO Bylaw.

Classes of Membership and Voting

ECOO has two classes of membership, Active and Life. Both are entitled to vote.

Active Members of ECOO are comprised of conference attendees from the previous year’s conference and any non-conference attendee who has separately paid the annual membership fee. Life members (there are about 20) are individuals who have rendered meritorious and outstanding service to ECOO and have been recommended by the Board.

If there are any contested positions (more than one nominee for any one role), then all members of ECOO are informed via email and their membership number is used to authenticate their online vote. Final voting may take place in-person at the AGM, at which point the votes are tabulated by the Nominations Chair and made known to the members present. The results are then posted to the ECOO website and the membership is advised, usually during an address during the final day of the annual conference. 

Do you recognize these ECOO Life Members?

Looking Ahead to the 2017 Nominations Process:

  • The Chair of the Nominations Committee for 2017 is Kristy Lurker.
  • Following the model of previous years, the AGM will likely occur on the Thursday of the annual conference, November 9th 2017. Note that the announcing of the date of the AGM is done by the Board, and cannot officially occur earlier than 120 days before the AGM. (Article 8, Section 1.1) 
  • Based on the date suggested above:
  • Call for Nominations for 2017 should occur no later than August 9th, 2017.
  • Call for Nominations for 2017 should close by September 30th, 2017.
  • Details regarding the nominees will be shared with the membership (posted on website, mailing to the membership)
  • Elections will take place (should they be necessary), culminating with the final voting, counting, and announcing of the results at the AGM.

A Call to Engagement

The ECOO organization is only as strong as its members. Without support from the membership, an organization falters. The Educational Computing Organization of Ontario (ECOO) has an opportunity to be much more to Ontario educators and learners than just an annual conference. It requires the engagement and the involvement of the membership in order to fulfil its potential as a provincial leader in supporting technology-related learning.

Our current Board of Directors has the opportunity to take ECOO to the next level. In addition to an annual conference, the board is looking to understand how the members wish to engage and is currently conducting a survey of the membership. Please consider adding your voice to help set the vision and establish some plans for the coming year.

As a closing reminder, don’t forget that the Call for Session Proposals for the annual conference, #BIT17 Bring IT, Together! 2017 remains open until this Friday. Educators throughout the province are invited to put forward their session proposals for consideration. Share your learning!

Please continue to support your organization so that it can support you, your peers, and future educators for years to come.


Do You Dream of Databases? 2

“Sunset on a Set of Boxes Sitting,” image by aforgrave, on Flickr

Cross-Posted from a long comment response to a Doug Peterson (@dougpete) question, “Whatever Happened to Filemaker Pro?” on his Doug – Off The Record blog.

I knew when I read Doug’s post this morning that it would be impossible for me to let it go without commenting. But where to start? How could I start and not go on for hours and hours? And I expect that he knew that it would be difficult for me to not reply. I remember the day when John Taylor introduced us to one another at ECOO. I’m fairly certain he was looking at pushing the OSAPAC database of licensed software to the web from FileMaker at the time.

My original thought was that I would reply by writing my own post on my own blog. But the post would be out of the blue and wouldn’t have the context that Doug’s post provided. In the end, I posted a long comment on Doug’s blog, and based it on his prompt questions. To go broader would open the floodgates and I’d never get any sleep. But I did decide to cross-post it here to EdVisioned.ca all the same. After all, I spent upwards of five years from 1998 to 2003 breathing, eating, and sleeping in Filemaker. I’m sure I had a few Filemaker-inspired dreams along the way.

Have you ever developed a database application in Filemaker Pro?

Database101Oh, yeah. You know I have! It all began with a demo version on floppy disk in the back of Guy Kawasaki’s Database 101 book, purchased one lazy Sunday afternoon while browsing computer section at the the local bookseller, a year or so after I started teaching. That was pre-Chapters/Indigo, pre-Internet. But I did have a Mac, and a background in programming and Hypercard, and the first real project was to develop a lesson planner for a summer course I was taking. Why spend all that time formatting the pages when common fields across the various lessons in the unit could be automagically arranged, and I could add and re-sort the lessons with a nice table of contents to boot? I remember carrying that Mac to and from class and school in one of those big bags.

“Ontario Curriculum Unit Planner,” photo by aforgrave, on Flickr

Subsequent to that, the Class Organizer was a database that I developed and then shared at an ECOO SIG-ELEM in Kingston (Doug wrote about Special Interest Groups last weekend), and then came a school report card in my third year of teaching — followed by district Report Cards, Provincial Report Cards, and then the Ontario Curriculum Unit Planner (units still available via Queen’s University as PDFs) for the Ministry of Education.

Do you have a need for a database in the things you do on a computer?

To this day, I maintain student records and manage a bunch of classroom tasks from within Filemaker. Record keeping is the very raison d’être of a database, but the reality is that most folks do not “think” in terms of databases. I’ve had conversations with people over the years (looking at you, Peter Skillen) about how our thought processes and problem solving are influenced by the tools we understand and use. You are familiar with The Law of the Instrument, perhaps as initially clarified by Abraham Maslow in 1966: “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” For years and years, the hammer of choice for many in Ontario was WordPerfect, and every single problem was solved with it. Now, decades later, comfort with spreadsheets has increased, but the subtleties of difference between spreadsheets and databases are lost to most. While visiting the Google Showcase at pre-ISTE NECC in 2009, I recall asking their booth folks if Google had a database program under development to complement Docs, Sheets, Slides — and I just received blank stares from the folks there. Now, a few years later, even Microsoft’s Access has disappeared from Office365. Databases are a hidden entity. They manage our finances, they organize and store our blog posts behind the interface of WordPress, but most people do NOT think of a database when faced with a database problem. It is not in our toolbox.

What sorts of things do you collect that would be suitable for inclusion in a database?
There was a time when I worked towards what one might call The Grand Unification of Data Architecture, where any and all information worth capturing was stored within a set of linked databases and was available to be searched and cross-linked and referenced with other related bits of data. Calendar entries, journal entries, financial data, family and contact information, events, presentations, goals, books and movies and media, quotes and research findings, long-range plans, any and all information belonged gathered together in a single related data-entity. As it has turned out, in the same way Facebook has given a web presence to the masses in a way that HTML never did, the multitude of mobile apps that exist today for managing groceries, workouts, friends, photos, and so on have provided everyone with a splintered and fractured collection of databases that can be used without truly understanding the methods beneath. Have a problem? There’s an app for that, no need to solve the problem yourself.

keep-calm-there-s-an-app-for-that-MODIf you’re not using a Filemaker Pro version, what are you using instead?
Over the years, I have played around with other data structures, MySQL being the most long-standing complement to my use of the latest versions of Filemaker. When the web really kicked into gear in the 2000s, the gathering and provision of data via AJAX became a new technological pursuit for me. That meant working with MySQL, HTML/CSS, and Javascript — three separate components. From the days of FileMaker 2.1 through FileMaker 15, one of the strongest features of FileMaker has been the way in which it marries the traditional modal-view-controller components within the domain of one application. With Filemaker, developers simultaneously manage the data structure, the interface, and the business logic. The most recent releases of Filemaker continue to support publishing web interface as well as generating mobile apps. For me, however, with today’s prevalence of apps and cloud computing, a lot of my data is stored within someone else’s data architecture. There are instances when I wish it were easier to hook the bits together, but the need to create things from scratch out of necessity has been supplanted over time with ready access to a multitude of specialized apps. The emerging potential of APIs has yet to be realized.

A Hammer, a Screwdriver, and a Flashlight?
In closing, as with coding, there is an untapped depth of problem solving potential that today’s learners are missing out on because the strengths and benefits of database structure and manipulation are not readily understood by folks. We have a wonderful category of tool available to support our thinking, but it’s not in the toolbox of the masses. A screwdriver may have joined the hammer for some, and perhaps a flashlight once in a while, but we really have yet to explore the full set of tools to which we truly need access. Databases are one such tool.

hammer_PNG3890

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” – Abraham Maslow, 1966.